Getting to and from Samara
The Samara train station is a real surprise - modern and well-equipped. It has everything you need including many lockers and left luggage facilities, a currency exchange, ATMs and a great transit lounge where you can even spend the night.
Additionally it features quite a classy hotel. From Moscow the best train to take is the direct link between the two cities, train 010 which takes just under 16 hours and costs about 750R ($28) 3rd class, 2000R ($74) 2nd class and 3900R ($145) 1st class. The 056 is a slightly lower quality direct link. Although it takes 18 hours, it is a bit cheaper at around 500R ($18) 3rd class and 1300R ($48) 2nd class. The respective return trains are numbered 009 and 055. The trains from Moscow that continue on to places like Tashkent, Ufa and Magnitgorsk are often a little bit cheaper but are slower and not as nice. The exception perhaps is the 014 Moscow-Chelyabinsk which takes 16 hours 42 minutes and costs about the same as the 010.
Train 337 runs from St Petersburg to Samara, takes just over 41 hours and costs about 900R ($33) 3rd class and 2500R ($93) 2nd class. Other destinations that are easy to reach from Samara include Kazan, Volgograd, Saratov, Ekaterinburg, Ufa, Chelyabinsk and Tashkent.
Address: Komsomolskaya Ploshchad, #1. Tel: 333-3001.
Buses are the cheapest (and nastiest) way of getting to and from Samara. Anyone interested in terrible, long-haul international bus journeys can travel from Samara to Tbilisi (12pm Monday), which takes 49 hours and costs 1625R ($60) or Baku (4pm, Wednesday and Sunday) which takes 48 hours and costs 1065R ($40). More manageable destinations include Kazan (daily, around 9am) which takes 7 hours 15 minutes and costs 410R ($15), Saratov (9am and 12pm daily) which takes 10 hours and costs 410R ($15) and Ioshkar-Ola (6pm daily, 11 hours, $17). For fans of Soviet history, Samara is a good place from which to take the five and a half hour journey to Ulyanovsk, birthplace of Lenin. There is at least one bus per hour to Ulyanovsk between 7:00am and 8:00pm (216R - $8). Tolyatti is also easily accessible from Samara, just over two hours away, with the same frequency of bus departures as for Ulyanovsk (100R - $3.70). The bus station also services the small towns surrounding Samara and around Samarskaya Oblast.
See www.samaratrans.info for updated bus schedules.
Address: Avrory Ul., #207a. Tel: 224-2555.
Samara "Kurumoch" Airport.
Getting to and from the airport by public transport is a bit of a headache. The best way to do it is to take bus #50 from the train station or Samarskaya Ploshchad and stay on this bus until it terminates at Krasnaya Glinka. Then change to bus #78 until you reach the airport. The standard rate for a taxi to the airport is 600R ($22), and 800R ($30) to be met at the airport.
Samara's airport is fairly simple but does have a business lounge and other basic amenities. There are upwards of ten daily flights between Moscow and Samara. Airlines that service Samara include Aeroflot, Samara Airlines, Arkhengelsk Airlines, Siberia Airlines and Utair. Samara Airlines is generally the cheapest with flights starting at about $90 one way or $150 return. The flight takes about 90 minutes. There are usually two daily flights between Samara and St Petersburg (about 2 hours 20 minutes). Additionally, there are flights most days to Ekaterinburg and Kazan, and a whole host of other cities are serviced on a less regular basis.
The only European destinations available for direct flights from Samara are Frankfurt and Prague. Lufthanza runs daily flights to Samara from Frankfurt (about four hours) while Czech Airlines has three flights a week in each direction between Samara and Prague (about 3 and a half hours). Central Asian and Caucasian locations including Almaty, Tashkent, Baku and Tbilisi are also serviced directly. Full flight schedules can be found on the Samara Airport's website: www.siair.ru.
Address: Tel: 229-5555.
Getting around Samara.
Samara's city center is small enough to walk between most places of interest. But you will need to take public transport to get from the train and bus stations to the central tourist area (although walking is possible from the train station) and to make reaching the east side of town easier. Buses, trams, trolleybuses and taxi vans are the cheapest and most efficient modes of transport but there is also a small metro and taxis are fairly cheap.
The metro currently has only eight stops and is of very limited use for tourists. There are no stations in the city center or near the train station - the single line services only the south-east of the city. But there are plans to extend the current line to the center and the train station and to add a second line with some more useful locations. You can see the Samara Metro Scheme here, though you'll probably have no reason to use it.
Buses, Trolleybuses, Trams, Marshrutkas (Taxi Vans).
Tram #1 runs from the bus station to the center via the train station and is the easiest form of transport to use between these destinations. Bus #22 and #52 connect the train and bus stations, while bus #24 runs from the bus station to Ploshchad Revolutsii in the city center. Trolleybus #16 connects the bus station and the center, as does #3 but it takes a more eastern route to get there.
Getting to and from the airport by public transport is a bit of a headache. The best way to do it is to take bus #50 from the train station or Samarskaya Ploshchad and stay on this bus until it terminates at Krasnaya Glinka. Then change to bus #78 until you reach the airport.
Around Samara some useful routes are Trolleybus #11 which runs from the train station to the eastern part of the center along Volzhsky Prospekt where there are several hotels and places of interest. Tram #5 starts at the western part of the center and run east along Ulitsa Frunze, Galaktionovskaya Ulitsa, Prospekt Lenina and Novo-Sadovaya Ulitsa all the way out to the Renaissance Hotel. Bus #46 takes a similar route from the central Ploshchad Revolutsii.
Additionally there are any number of taxi vans covering various routes. Tickets on all forms of public transport cost 9R ($0.33) and can be bought on board from a person who come around selling them. The following website has maps of all Samara's public transport routes: www.samaratrans.info.
Taxis and Car Rental.
In Samara you can hail any car as a taxi but it's not as easy as in Moscow. By this method you can get anywhere worth going in the greater central area for a maximum of 100 R ($3.70). Some legitimate taxi companies (operators speak Russian only) include Samara Taxi (Tel: 959-4638, Website: www.samarataxi.ru), Taxi Blues (Tel: 234-3343, Website: www.taxi-blues.samara.ru), Krylya Taxi (Tel: 273-0730, Website: www.taxikrilya.ru) and Voyage Taxi (Tel: 224-2424, Wesbite: www.taxivoyage.ru).
Renting a car is a good way to explore the greater Samara area. Both Hertz and Europcar have outlets in Ekaterinburg (prices start at about $75 per day) but the local companies are considerably cheaper (prices start at $37 a day).
Hertz: Novosadovaya Ul., #162b Tel: 277-8383.
Europcar: Michurina Ul., #80, Office 23. Tel: 338-7017.
Kolesa Rent-A-Car: Bratyev Korostelevykh Ul., #268, Office 40. Tel: 273-2828.
Auto Rental: Fizkulturnaya Ul., #90. Tel: 926-3710. Website: www.auto-rental.ru.
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